This weekend, my wife and I had the pleasure of having dinner at the Iron Pig Smokehouse in Gaylord Michigan. I don’t normally do restaurant reviews on my blog or podcast, but I’m going to make an exception for this little piece of freedom just an hour from my house. It’s just a short one. You really need to go check it out for yourself if you are within striking distance of Gaylord.
First off, the story:
The Iron Pig is a funky little bar/restaurant in the small town of Gaylord Michigan which is is about half way between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron in the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan along I-75. They made the local news (and maybe more) for their refusal to close down when the Governor and later the health department and liquor control commission ordered that inside dining not be allowed during the lockdowns in 2020 and early 2021. They were fined and their Liquor license suspended (which is proudly displayed on their bar).
They feel it’s a badge of honor. Check out their site here: https://theironpigsmokehouse.com/ They have t-shirts and other cool “gear” on the site all to support their cause and show your support. They also have copies of their legal documents from all the ‘trouble’ they have been in over the last year and a half. Their motto is “Risk it for the Brisket!”
I’m a lover of Texas-style bbq. I love brisket and I love Mac and Cheese. Let me tell you right now that their Brisket Mac and Cheese is the best I’ve ever had. I will make it point to drive an hour to get more several times over this summer for sure. Everything we saw in there looked great and the people (both customers and staff) were top notch! My wife got the brisket platter. It was enough food for 2 meals at least. (I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch today).
It was just great to get a little bit of “normal”. It’s sad that freedom feels strange here in the USA. We are adults and it was just nice to go to a place that treated us as such. I would highly recommend this place to anyone wanting great bbq with a side of freedom!
Put this address in your GPS and head on up! 143 W Main St, Gaylord, Michigan 49735
They are open 7am to 9pm 7 days a week. Maybe you will see me in there (face and all) eating some good Mac and Cheese!
In Michigan, we have a bottle and can deposit law which makes it necessary to make trips to the bottle return at stores like Meijer and Walmart. Today, I was cleaning the garage and had a load of cans and bottles to go back to the store. Stores that sell beverages that have deposits are required to take back the cans and bottles and pay you back for your deposit.
2 things happened to today that makes me wonder WTF?
First, I was parked at Meijer in Acme and I was a ways away from the cart return. I had enough cans that I needed to get an empty cart to take them all in. I’m walking to the cart return and some woman comes running up to me (less than 2 feet away) and starts giving me crap about not wearing my mask. I said, “you are standing 2 feet away from me. We are outside and masks are NOT required. Please back off.” (Yes I do wear a mask where required.) She started going off on me more as I walked a way and told her to STFU and stay away from me.
Then, I return my cans and had a $15 return slip which you are supposed to turn in for cash in the store. I go in the store and got a few things. In the checkout, It worked out to be $9 and something so I would get $5 something back. The cashier started freaking out on me telling me that I can’t return cans for more money that what I was going to spend. She was EXTREMELY rude to me. I just said, I didn’t see anything about that on any signs and besides that, the law says I can get cash for the cans. She grumbled something and went off and came back with my $5.
People… PLEASE, Mind your own business and just be nice. That was way uglier then it had to be. The cashier was wrong. I’m going to guess she’s having a bad day. But, really?? #fail #meijer #mask #BS
My friend Suzie Had this warning on her Facebook Profile. Facebook, Which owns THEIR SYSTEM decided that whatever article she clicked like on was false, based on what the government (or World Health Organization in this case) said. It’s their right to censor what is on THEIR platform.
Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TickTock (sp?) and Google (YouTube) have that right. Their platforms are owned privately by those companies. That gives them the right. BUT, you do not have to live by the rules! Take back the web from these “Social (engineering) media companies”.
Free speech is something we enjoy in the US and a lot of other places around the world. It’s a god-given right of all humans. BUT you don’t have the right to be heard on someone else’s platform. Just like you don’t have the RIGHT to be on the NBC evening news. NBC has that right and they can allow you on there if they deem it important. Just like these social media platforms. Yes, they make it much easier to get heard (or read) but they don’t guarantee it. They also control who sees what and when. They advertise against it (which is their business model). But, to use them as your “platform” to be heard is not always the best plan. It’s like building your house on rented land.
I’m not here to say who’s right and who’s wrong. That is up to you, but the example I use is Alex Jones. Regardless of what you think of his opinions, he is a good example of someone that is being de-platformed by the main stream social media companies. Apple, Google (YouTube), Facebook and Twitter (and I’m sure many more) have made it so you can’t find his stuff in those places. BUT, he still is out there. He has a podcast (several I think, I don’t listen to him). He has a website and can say and do what he wants. You can get his podcast and read his articles if you want. You know why? Because he has his OWN platform. Getting the word out is a little harder for him, but he’s still saying what he wants, when he wants.
You can do that as well.
Get your own WordPress BASED website (Not WordPress DOT COM). Any webhost that can install WordPress works. I use A2 hosting (see banner on the side bar of this page) It’s cheap, mostly easy and the great thing is I OWN IT. I can put what I want on this site and nobody can tell me to take it down. Nobody can just take it down because they don’t like it or it doesn’t comply with some sort of rule. I can post Pictures, Videos, Audio Podcasts or just type whatever I want here. IT’s MY WEBSITE. Does not belong to the Social (engineering) Media companies.
Yes, it’s true that more people “COULD” see a post on social (potentially) than this site. But if Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube do not want me to say something, they can take it out. If they don’t like something on this page, they CAN’T take it out.
Freedom of speech is just like all the other rights out there. Use it or lose it.
Since 1999, I have had MikeDell.com on the web. The first few versions of it were just done on plain old HTML and then later FrontPage. I went through a few web hosts over the years since around 2003 I’ve been on Godaddy hosting and WordPress. I was on the mid-level shared hosting on Linux which allowed several websites to be hosted. It was all going great for 17 years, until Godaddy informed me that I couldn’t update my PHP to the version needed to run the current version of WordPress and PowerPress. They were getting rid of the servers that I was on an I had to move.
NORMALLY, when a web host wants to move you, they just move you and you don’t really have to do anything. They just do it for you and it all goes well. In the case of Godaddy, that was NOT the case. Not only did I have to buy a plan (I got what I thought was the equivalent “new” hosting plan on the newer style servers. Not that big a deal, but then I found out they would move my sites, but for $199 EACH! – STRIKE ONE
So, they send me some lame instructions on how to move a WordPress site ( I had 5 at this point ). I just did it the way I know how and it did work. The trouble started very shortly after that. All my sites went down one day a week later. I tried and tried to get to any one of them with no luck at all. I called into Godaddy and they said first there was an issue they were working on. SO I waited another day or two. Still down. SO I called back in. This time they said, “you are using too many resources.” I asked, Really? I have 5 WordPress sites and none of them are very busy. The nice support lady said I should upgrade to the next level of shared hosting. Since I had paid for a year at a time, I would have to pay the whole year at the new level (pro-rated) on the new plan….. OK…. I suppose if you think it will help. So I upgraded. Sites came back but were a bit slow. Figured it would take time to get back up to speed.
A week later, they were all down again. This time they told me it was Malware on my sites. I asked “what malware” They said…. “Well, we can do a scan but you have to buy our super-duper security service for your site.” “You know WordPress is very prone to be hacked” That will be $39 per month. (I refused because they were full of crap FYI) I gave it a bit of time. Got rid of some plugins and things I didn’t really need and generally cleaned up a ton of unused stuff on the server. It sped up a bit after that.
Then, a couple of weeks later… Sites are down again. I called in, and got the “you are using too much resources” thing again….. IOk, I call Bullshit. I asked them to tell me WHAT, in my very low traffic sites, is causing your server so much trouble? They couldn’t tell me without a consult ($$$) with their “server team”, but offered yet another expensive upgrade. STRIKE TWO!
I moved MikeDell.com at that point. It moved to Blubrry PowerPress sites (Use my Promo code MIKE for a free month if you want one) and I’m using PodcastMirror.com to take the feed traffic off the site. (Update, I moved MikeDell.com to A2 hosting as well) It’s now a rocketship, but that still left the other 4 sites, slow as shit. I called again and was told “You are using too many Resouces. STRIKE THREE!
I went on a search for better hosting. I found A2 Hosting right here in Michigan (Ann Arbor) and the price was about the same as I was paying for many years at Godaddy before the “upgrade”. I signed up and figured I would try it. Well, the first thing I noticed was the test site I put on there was VERY fast. No issues with downtime, no issues with any other troubles. I also saw on A2’s website that they will move sites for you. (I was skeptical) but I thought “What the heck?”. I put in a request and they asked for my login info to my Cpanel over a godaddy. 3 hours later, all my sites were copied over with all the settings, passwords and everything. All I had to do was switch the DNS’s. Less than 12 hours from start to finish, iook.org, benz-arpsc.org, traversecityclassof64.com and W8TVC.com were moved, had shiny new FREE SSL certs and were VERY fast.
I’m not sure what went wrong at Godaddy. They were always very good and I’ve been an affiliate of theirs over the years. I think what might have happened is the guy that started it, Bob Parsons left the company. He was a very strong CEO and had the customer in mind, not just making money. Their support used to be top-notch. Now they are just upselling. Upsell upsell upsell in support. Throw money at it. Extract every sale you can even if it’s not needed. I still use them for domains (for now). But I have canceled my hosting plan and (Very overpriced SSL Certificates.
I am an affiliate with A2 hosting now (none of my links are in this article) and so far I am a very happy, former Godaddy Hosting customer.